Margeson on the music April 2014
Margeson on the music April 2014
St. Pat’s is over and I assume you have recovered. Was on LiveIreland Radio from Dublin with Imelda on THE day when we got a chat room visit from Tadaka Simafune from Japan and Christina from St. Petersburg in Russia at the exact same moment. The power of the internet. And Irish music!
Speaking of powerful, we have a couple treats for you this month. Donal Clancy of THE Clancys is out with a great bit of business, Songs of a Roving Blade. Everyone knows Donal is a great guitarist and has been in demand for years as a recording guy with other artists. Here he is on offer with his playing AND his glorious singing. The Clancy tradition is in the best possible hands. This sounds so much like all the Clancys, you would know it in a moment in a dark room. “That’s a Clancy!” And, indeed it is.
Donal is Liam’s son. Liam, as you probably know, was the last of the iconic Clancy Brothers. I suppose Donal will have that all his life. “Oh, you’re Liam’s son!” Something like that can be rejected and stupidly fought against—you ARE Liam Clancy’s son. Or, it can be embraced, nurtured, improved and taken even further. Donal has chosen the latter, thanks be to heaven. Donal was a founding member of Danu, leaving the group to tour with his Dad and some other family members, such as another icon, Robbie O’Connell. Donal has returned to Danu and all is well there, for sure. He also did time with Solas. He is backed on this cd by a bunch of really great musicians. If you think of it, Donal is in a perfect place to have gotten to know the best of the best, and then take his pick of backing artists for this album. Liam had the most pleasing singing voice of The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, and Donal has inherited much of it. Of course it is not exact. But, it is a beautiful voice. We waited a long time for this album. The varied song selections, approaches and interpretations bring to the fore the entire musical legacy come down to, and centered in, Donal. He uses these tools perfectly. While still young, this album shows Donal to have the experience and taste of a much older man. I suppose it doesn’t do to say, “His Father would be proud.” Cliché. But, clichés are clichés because they are endlessly repeated. They are endlessly repeated because they are true. So. His Father would be proud. A great album by a thoroughly wonderful entertainer.
Let’s jump the track here. Boldly going into literary reviewer, Frank West Territory, we have to tell you of a brilliant piece of business which combines a magical book and great music. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin is one of Ireland’s great composers and musical gifts to the world. He is also the Founding Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick. He founded the school in 1994, and it has since blossomed. We should write an entire column about it and will. Fab. Well, he has written a suite of tunes around a wonderful book by a woman named, Page Allen. It is called, Madison’s Descent. This is tough. It is a book for children. Wait. It is a book for all of us. It is a lovely way to explain to a child the answer to the age old toddler’s question, “Where do I come from?” Wait. It is a beautiful book explaining where we all come from and where we are going. It is new agey. Wait. I know. When I first saw it, (and before I read it) two thoughts occurred simultaneously. This art is lovely. (Author, Page Allen did it.) This is New Age crap. Bzzz. Wrong. WRONG. It is wonderful in every way. Were my daughter of the age, I would read this to her every night. It is a magical view of Madison’s travel through the heavens, stars and universe before arriving here. Well, that is my favorite part of the book. It reads beautifully, but it should be read aloud to get the mystery and wonder of it. Assuming you are a parent, or know one of a child of the right age, this is a gem. Google it. Amazon it. Find it. Get it.
The neat part is that Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin agrees and has written lovely music, themed on Madison’s Descent. It HAS been recorded, but is not yet commercially available. It should be. Page sent us a copy of the album. Gorgeous. You ARE going to be able to hear at least a few of the tunes this summer and fall in Ireland at The Carrick on Shannon Festival in July, and the NCH in Dublin on Sep 4. You heard it here first. The album is going to be special. Very. The book IS available now. This book is descended through the stars for your family. It is lovely. You know it is. When was the last time you saw us write about a book? Allen meets Ó Súilleabháin. Magic.